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Pottering About the Lake District National Park, UK

Lake District National Park, UK. Photo by Helen Reynolds

This trip focused on experiencing and celebrating the beauty of the English Alps while also taking a close look at the pioneering conservation and preservation efforts of Beatrix Potter to safeguard the area from development. Students stayed in YHA Hostels, walked daily (10-15 miles) and were involved in a community service project with the National Trust.

Day Walk Into the High Fells

One of our last days, spent with a day walk climbing into the high Fells! The view was stunning, and the walk superb!!!

climbing into the high Fells


Posted by HMS on Thursday May 15 at 08:47PM
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Sweet Chestnut Tree

While investigating the surrounding area that had such an attraction on Wordsworth we came across this Sweet Chestnut tree believed to be between 400 and 800 years old. Surely a local inhabitant worth our while getting to know!

800 year old sweet chestnut tree
Posted by HMS on Thursday May 15 at 08:23PM
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Walk Around Grasmere and Rydal Water

This was the start of our day today, and from here we started upon our walk around Grasmere and Rydal Water, the 5 mile loop that William and Dorothy Wordsworth walked daily, and what provided them both with much of the inspiration that fueled their creative genius. It was a grand day for walking and many of our students became "Fells Walkers" in the truest sense of the word.

The last photo is of our humble abode while in Grasmere, a YSA Hostel.

views around Grasmere and Rydal Water


Posted by HMS on Tuesday May 13
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St. Oswald's Church in Grasmere

We started our day today at St. Oswald's Church, the first church in Grasmere, was founded by Oswald off Northumbria, King of Northumbria, in 642. The present church stands on or near the same site, and is dedicated to him. It dates from the 14th century. Here is Grasmere Church, behind which is the graveyard which contains the gravesite of William & Dorothy Wordsworth. The last picture is of Dove Cottage, Grasmere; the home that Wordsworth and his sister lived in for 10 years when first coming to Grasmere in the Lakes District, and during his most creative and productive periods as a poet.

St. Oswald's Church and the gravesite of William & Dorothy Wordsworth

Posted by HMS on Tuesday May 13
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Tarn Hows

Tarn Hows is considered by many to be the most beautiful spot in England. This fabled beauty spot was originally part of the Monk Coniston Estate, which is the largest, and last, piece of property that Beatrix Potter secured in her efforts to safeguard the integrity of the countryside. It took everything that she had at the time to buy it, but it was a special place to her because of past family connections to the estate and area, and we were happy to have such a fine day to experience its beauty!

After lunching at Tarn Hows, we set our sights to the north and the village of Grasemere, the home of William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. Explorations and inspiration from here tomorrow!

walking along Tarn Hows and towads Grasemere

Posted by HMS on Monday May 12
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Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead Village

Our day began at the National Trust's Beatrix Potter Gallery in the old section of Hawkshead Village (first picture below). The building was William Heelis's (a local solicitor and Beatrix Potter's husband) office, and where much activity took place between Beatrix and William as they strategically planned out and bought local farms to preserve the character of the Lakes from development. Upon his death William Heelis donated the building to the National Trust, along with much of the art work that went into Beatrix's children's stories.

As the theme of our journey has been "From Inspiration To Action," we asked students to take the day to address the question of what inspires them. Journal entries to follow as they put them into the group journal!

Tomorrow will find us heading to Grasemere, and the home of William Wordsworth. Anne Tyson's cottage (second picture below) was where William Wordsworth lived when attending grade school in Hawkshead. When orphaned, he and his sister Dorothy were farmed out to different relatives, and William was placed here in Hawkshead, gaining his early influence and inspiration from the Lakes District.

The third picture is of St. Michael's Church in Hawkshead.

Beatrix Potter Gallery, St. Michael's Churc and Anny Tyson's Cottage

Posted by HMS on Monday May 12
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Happy Mother's Day!

To all our moms....

Happy Mother's Day spelled out in shoes and jackets ... to our moms!

Posted by HMS on Sunday May 11
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Hill Top Farm and Moss Eccle Tarn

Our day began with a walk to Hill Top farm along Esthwaite Water, then we toured the Hill Top Farm that was Beatrix Potter's first home in the Lake District. We followed our visit there with two short walks around the Near Sawrey neighborhood that were her favorite walks, and where much of the inspiration for many of her children's story characters emerged. One was to the Moss Eccles Tarn (a small mountain pond or lake created by the glaciers) which Potter bought when she married William Heelis at the age of 47. He was a great outdoorsman, and this spot was one of their favorite places to go together; he fishing with Beatrix rowing the boat! Many believe that both of their ashes (after a 30 year marriage) were spread here when they died, which they asked to be kept a secret. Our way back brought us through her other favorite place—the Castle Wood—which was filled with the magic of the fairy realm!

around Hill Top Farm and Moss Eccles Tarn


Posted by HMS on Sunday May 11
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Hill Top Farm

A photo of Beatrix Potter outside Hill Top Farm, and our HMS students journaling near the doorway of it. Hill Top Farm was the home of Beatrix Potter in Near Sawrey, Cumbria, and given to the National Trust upon her death with the express wish that it be left just as she had lived in it. No pictures were allowed inside unfortunately, but it is lovely! She was a real Hobbit!!!!

Hill Top Farm, home of Beatrix Potter

Posted by HMS on Sunday May 11
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A Special, Personal Post

I would just like to wish my dad a very happy birthday from his daughter in disguise as Beatrix. England's not quite the same without you! Celebrate well and I'll see you when I get home.

All my love and appreciation,

And the happiest of birthday wishes!

Xoxoxo, Ella

students dressed up as Beatrix Potter and friends.

Posted by HMS on Saturday May 10 at 04:34PM
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